Hannah was 3 years old when authorities discovered and rescued her from a life of abuse.
When police went to her home to arrest her father on drug charges, Hannah was lying on the floor wrapped in a dirty blanket, had not been bathed in weeks and suffered from a severe case of head lice. She weighed only 19 pounds.
Later, it was determined that she had also been sexually abused.
This would be tragic if it were an isolated event, but sadly across Kentucky, thousands of children suffer like Hannah every day. In 2011, there were 9,595 substantiated reports of abuse involving more than 15,500 children.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Sunrise Children’s Services is dedicated to calling attention to the problem of abuse and neglect, and to the efforts made to prevent abuse from occurring.
For more than 143 years, Sunrise has provided a refuge for children in pain across Kentucky. Each day, it cares for more than 600 children through a statewide network of foster homes, residential programs and community-based services.
Hannah came to Sunrise, was placed in a loving foster home and quickly began to show improvement. She gained weight, her hair grew healthy, and the foster parents have expressed a desire to legally adopt her.
Sunrise Children’s Services provides a safe haven, help and a chance for a better tomorrow for victims of abuse as they try to recover from the trauma of a troubled home.
Although much of the agency’s efforts are geared toward reaching out to those already hurting, Sunrise is proactive when it comes to child abuse and neglect.
Sunrise’s Impact Plus counselors work with young people and adults who are experiencing stressful situations in their lives. Trained, professional staff can help these individuals work through difficult times before they turn into a crisis.
Sunrise also operates a Family Preser-vation Program that assists families who have been identified as at-risk for potential crisis.
Trained staff at FPP reach out to offer assistance to these families in the form of substance abuse counseling, parenting skills and connecting them with resources to improve the safety and environment of their homes.
It takes all of us working together to help children like Hannah. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, immediately call the Kentucky Child Abuse Reporting Hotline (1-800-752-6200.)
For information about Sunrise, visit www.sunrise.org.